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Dacres Wood Nature Reserve

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve occupies 2.5 hectares in LB Lewisham, to the east of the main railway line between Forest Hill and Sydenham stations. It was formerly part of a large Victorian garden, and includes an important remnant of the Croydon Canal, closed in 18[41]. There is a diverse invertebrate fauna, including several species of particular note and a number of useful invertebrate habitats. The site’s close abutment to a railway line makes possible potential colonisation and the spread of many species up this ‘green corridor’.

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Dacres Wood Nature Reserve

From Lewisham Nature Reserves Summary Plan, Sept 2009 – 2014

Much of the site is secondary woodland, but there is a discontinuous canopy dominated by a number of very large Turkey Oaks, as well as a few Horse Chestnut and English oak.

The secondary woodland is comprised of young growth of Sycamore, English Elm, Ash, Holly, Lime, Horse Chestnut and other species. There are also a few English Oak, Hazel, spotted Laurel, Rhododendron, Cherry, Beech, Elder and Hawthorn amongst these. Much of the field layer/under-story is dominated by Bramble and iIy, with other species such as Bluebell (native and Spanish), Red Campion, Wood Dock, and Lords and Ladies also occurring.

A pond near the entrance to the wood is a feature of the site and has a pond dipping platform and bridge. The pond has deep water at its centre, and towards the northern end it becomes shallower and has an extensive area of thick marshy growth.

Amphibians living in the pond include a large population of Smooth Newt and Common Frogs. Dragonflies include Broad Bodied Chaser, Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Blue Tailed and Azure Damselflies.

A preliminary invertebrate survey conducted by Richard A. Jones in 1996 confirmed that there is a diverse invertebrate fauna including several species of particular note and a number of useful invertebrate habitats. This diversity is a reflection of the site’s history as a remnant of a large Victorian garden which would have been home to many of the invertebrates from the surrounding ‘semi-natural’ countryside.

Towards the rear of the site there is small grassy clearing between several large Turkey Oaks. The flora of the glade is not considered to be particularly diverse. There is a mixture of different grasses such as Cocksfoot, Barren Brome, Couch, annual Meadow Grass, perennial Rye Grass, false Oat Grass and Wall Barley.

At the very back of the site there runs a railway line, with broad overgrown banks to the cutting. The site’s close abutment to a railway line makes possible potential colonization and the spread of many species up this ‘green corridor’.

For more information about us and how to get involved, please visit the Friends Group

Friends of Dacres Wood

We are a group of local volunteers committed to supporting LB Lewisham’s management of this surprising nature reserve.

We are always looking for new members to join the Friends. This can be anything from helping with Open Days and fundraising to just showing your support by becoming a member. To get involved please contact the Friends of Dacres Wood or Follow the Friends of Dacres Wood on Twitter.

There are many ways to get involved, you can join the Friends Group or if you feel more active you can help with volunteer day run by Nature’s Gym. Theyun a number of events at Dacres Wood including step building, creating dead hedges and removing reeds from the pond.

The Friends and Users meet every three months to discuss the reserve and to discuss ways they can make improvements to the site. We are currently in the process of strengthening and finding new ways to support the group. If you would like to be a part of this, please contact the Friends.

The Objectives of the Friends of Dacres Wood Nature Reserve are:

  • To promote, maintain and enhance the indigenous wildlife and botanical value of Dacres Wood Nature Reserve and its educational use for the public.
  • To maintain and enhance the traditional woodland species and encourage a good diverse structure of ground flora within the woodland, woodland edge habitats, and glades.
  • To maintain and enhance open water habitats by preventing the pond from turning into marsh or willow carr.
  • To maintain the dead wood habitat, both standing and fallen, within the woodland.
  • To encourage community participation and maintain the site in a safe conditions for use by the general public for informal recreation purposes and the enjoyment of wildlife.
  • To improve access into the reserve with special consideration given for disabled access and make available interpretative material to all visitors to the site.
  • To improve educational opportunities for the Boroughs schools and the general public within the nature reserve to enable learning about ecology and the natural environment.
  • To monitor both fauna and flora within the nature reserve and keep records of the ecology, use and management so that the success of any management

Open Days

The Reserve is open to the public by the Friends Group on the last Saturday of every month from 1-4pm

To visit at other times is by appointment with Lewisham Council

Other Local Sites

The Friends of Albion Millennium Green is a community group which emerged in 2008 from the spontaneous practical caring for this much loved space by people who lived in the area.

To get involved, please contact the Friends of Albion Millennium Green

Follow the Friends of Albion Millennium Green on Twitter

Website: Friends of Albion Millennium Green

Garthorne Road Nature Reserve is also part of the Forest Hill to New Cross Gate railway cutting. This wide cutting combines three nature reserves (Devonshire Road, Garthorne Road and Brockley Nature Reserve [managed by London Wildlife Trust]), containing woodland, scrub, grassland and reed beds. It is a site of metropolitan importance for nature conservation as it contains probably the finest suite of railside wildlife habitat in London. It is four kilometres long and over 200 metres wide at its widest points.

Website: Garthorne Road Nature Reserve

Mayow Park, originally named Sydenham Recreation Ground, is the borough’s oldest municipal park. The park is home to the Mayow Park Bowls Club, has two tennis courts and a refurbished children’s playground. The central field is an ideal venue for recreation and public events.

Grow Mayow

The Grow Mayow Community Garden project is a food growing and plant production site in Mayow Park, Sydenham and was created by regenerating a derelict park keeper’s depot. They work with our local community to promote health, wellbeing, intercultural awareness, environmental sustainability and permaculture.

Friends of Mayow Park

Grow Mayow Community Project

Hiring the Reserve

Dacres Wood Field Centre is available to hire for children’s birthday parties. All our birthday hires are facilitated events run by Ema Felix who runs the Secret Adventures and Little Explorers club.

If you need more information and are interested please contact Ema directly.


To get involved please contact the Friends of Dacres Wood dacreswood @ gmail . com

Follow the Friends of Dacres Wood on Twitter

Follow the Secret Adventure Club on Twitter

Find Us

SE23 2NH

We’re easy to miss! We’re at the end of a drive called Honeyfield Mews which is off Dacres Road, Forest Hill, just past Catling Close on the right coming from Forest Hill, just before on the left if coming from Sydenham.